Explore the most popular birding trails near Three Rivers with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Nice hike not to strenuous. Nice looking lake water still very cold every time I’m at a alpine lake I have to take a dip in. Plenty of brown Trout caught a few in just a hour very good day.

Hiked to Eagle Lake on Memorial Day weekend. Amazing views. The air was fresh, weather was crisp.

It's a cute one, consider adding mosquito lake

I did a little more than this, reaching precipice lake and the pass after. As of late May, it was still fully covered with snow to go this far, but no snow if you only reach Hamilton lake.
Also, I did this back and forth in a day hike, about 36 miles. Very doable since up to Hamilton lake (and even later - up to where there was snow) the trail is extremely well marked and easy to follow, you can do 3 miles/hour easily

hiking
20 days ago

We backpacked at Monarch Lake the night before climbing Sawtooth Pass. At this season seems the weather is clear in morning but gets foggy in the afternoon.
The trail to Lower Monarch Lake is obvious, even about the last mile and mile half is covered in snow. We brought crampons and ice axes, which made the trekking much easier. But still, the steep snow slope looks pretty dangerous and have proper equipment will give you peace in mind and tool to self arrest if anything happens.
Even though the Lower Monarch Lake is largely covered with ice, the temperature is not too low, I'd say 30 degree at night, and we are able to get water at the lake.
The trail to Sawtooth Pass mostly has no snow, but really hard to find human track at this early in the season, I ended up using ice axe to cross patches of ice when climbing totally off trail to the pass. Take extra caution when moving on the slope. It's like 50 degree or above incline and with sandy terrain, the sand is extremely slippery on rocks.
The west side of the Sawtooth Pass is mostly clear of snow, but as soon as you reach the pass you can see the other side of it is covered in completely white. Snow is couple feet high over the pass. View at the pass is breath taking.
Getting downhill is mandatory hill and can be very challenging. My buddy with crampon on felt it's easier as the traction on sandy slope helps. Me, I mostly slide one foot in careful position, moving sideways, sometimes sit down or hunch down to help stabilize the sliding. Be super careful where you step on! Pure sand has more traction than sand on rock. Also notice some part, even no snow/ice, but the small pebbles are frozen together made it hard and slippery.
We took 2 hrs to ascent from Lower Monarch Lake to the Pass.

Went there end of May backpacking. Last mile to the lake was on a slope covered with snow, we passed it with ice axe and crampons easily. I saw people walked by with trekking boots and poles but you might want to think twice and takes extreme caution. Heading towards sawtooth pass was very hard for me cause I failed to find the right route and struggled a lot along sandy mountain. Weather was cool not cold, afternoon fog brought bad condition to the trail. Breathtaking view when sunset and sunrise. Lots of marmots around the lake.

Amazing hike. Did it over memorial day weekend when the weather was cold which was perfect. Started at around 42F and ended at around 58F. There is still little bit of snow on the trail but not enough to make it slippery. Many different terrains on the trail which makes it interesting and so much to see, The last section before the lake is climbing boulders which for me was challenging and that is why I would rate this trail as strenuous. It took 3.25 hours to hike up and 2.5 hours to hike down at a relaxing pace with several stops. Stopped at Eagle lake for an hour for lunch and the amazing views.

This trail is amazing. We had a few first-time backpackers with us and it wasn't too bad. It was a particularly wet rainy season, so the river crossings were very dangerous. We had to cross an ice bridge as well. I would not have done this trail any earlier in the season than I did because the conditions were barely passable. Luckily, we are all young and agile, so we were able to climb the giant blocks of ice, but it wasn't easy. We had a late start at about 6 pm and we made it to 9-mile camp just as it was getting dark We woke up, and the views were amazing. Great camp with bear bins. If you have more time, try to make it to Bearpaw camp. It was amazing. It was a great lunch stop between 9-mile and Hamilton Lake. However, once we made it to Hamilton Lake, it was all worth it. We were surrounded 360 degrees by snowcapped mountains. It was amazing. On our way back, just one day later, the trail was much easier to pass. It was mindblowing how quickly the trail conditions changed. I greatly enjoyed it. Plenty of water along the entire trail. I would definitely do this trip again.

Tried to do this hike today 5/19/18 but the last gate before Silver City is closed due to a washout on the road. Its another 5 1/2 to 6 miles of walking on the paved road until you get to the trail head. According to a park ranger I met there the gate should open in a week or 2. I

backpacking
1 month ago

overall good day hike. you can backpack and camp at the 6mile mark.

cons:
-steep uphill battle against nature
-wish I had brought trekking poles
pros:
-really beautiful places to rest, mossy rocks with waterfalls etc
-got to see some Sequoias that no one else sees.

what I wish I had known before I started:

road to trailhead is really Rocky. You will need a truck or similar. 4x4 not necessary.

Trail is uphill the entire way. don't kid yourself, and bring water. there are water features along the route, very clean, if you have purifier I imagine they taste great.

Garfield Grove Sequoias are a little lackluster--not nearly as close together as the main park.

it was a bit overgrown from recent rain, and this increased bug activity but I used 40% DEET spray and did not get any bites.

didn't see a snake or a bear, although from the look of the forest you should prep for both.

4 months ago

A must. Gorgeous lake. Alot of history in the area. Trail is well maintained.

backpacking
5 months ago

Great hike, you have the best views the whole way up. There are streams along the way, so you can pack a water filter to reduce weight of carrying water.

backpacking
7 months ago

This trail was super overgrown when my group and I went. We found ourselves basically bush whacking for what seemed like a mile. It was also INCREDIBLY hot and the mosquitos were relentless. Also not many views, as most of this trail is forested. Not to mention getting to the trailhead was a nightmare... the road to the campsite it horrendous and not suitable for any sedan. I will likely not be back... that's what I get for not planning in advance for Labor Day weekend.

great hike, very steep, so watch your footing

Great Hike, beautiful views. The road up, Mineral King, was sketchy. Definitely want to have good tires and brakes.

backpacking
9 months ago

Now this my friends is a true hike! Beautiful views and a hell of a lot of work. My buddy and I did the upper saw tooth loop. About 45 miles. Tons of wild life and vegetation. We'd be hiking on rocks then be in fern forests. Read your map carefully because there is a lot of elevation drops to 8k then climbing back up to 11k. Tons of work. Plan your days accordingly and it will be such a great trip.

backpacking
9 months ago

Amazing hike with a few options to continue on and connect to other trails. Sawtooth peak is also a great peak to be claimed by any peakbagger

Nice hike with great views but way too many people. It's one of the shortest hikes in the mineral king valley so a lot of people do it, all day long

backpacking
9 months ago

This is a beautiful trail that gives you a taste of everything ranging from wildflower meadows, forest, streams, rocky landscapes and two beautiful lakes!

Love the hike thru out. The views are spectacular. I would even rate this as hard than moderate because of the incline hike almost the whole time. Bring some extra clothes, the water is very welcoming and I regret not jumping into it.

hiked from Cold Springs campground... saw several pheasants... the marmots ignored my vehicle... great hike to a beautiful lake with jagged peaks 3/4 around it... lots of trout and still some snow pack... some of the coolest pine trees that seem to love such an extreme environment

This trail was an awesome challenge. A beautiful view the entire hike. Some of the most amazing scenery I've ever seen. It was a fairly strenuous hike but the reward at Eagle Lake was worth it. Water is freezing but I had to jump in! Be ready for a great workout but the most amazing views you can imagine.

This trail takes you through beautiful green meadows, trees along the creeks, and a steady climb through boulders and rocks. You are rewarded with breath-taking views of the lake surrounded by mountains.

There Hamilton Lakes Basin along the High Sierra Trail is super beautiful! I did a section of this trail as part of a 40 mile backpacking loop. Here is the trip report: https://backpackersreview.wordpress.com/trip-reports/sequoia-mineral-king/

Beautiful hike w constant views. Lots of wildlife on the trail. We stayed on trail the entire time, but the hike to Eagle Lake and back ended up being about 8 miles long.

backpacking
11 months ago

Moderate hike. There scenery up to the lake is phenomenal. Make sure to take chicken wire for the marmots if you plan to stay over night. If you forget, you can always rent it at Silver City.

hiking
11 months ago

06/14/2017

Amazing trail. We only managed to get as far as the steep section below the intersection with the Mosquito Lakes trail - lots of partially melting snow with loose gravel and dirt made it impossible to climb much further up. The first stream you come to was somewhat dangerous crossing (shin deep) but was certainly dangerous as we came back (almost knee deep). That stream is very dangerous, don't cross in the morning if it's more than shin deep or you don't have poles!

I'll re-review once I make it to the top here soon.

So sad. Drove 3 hours to find out the bridge crossing wasn't passable. The drive was VERY windy. Ended up hailing.

June 25th - June 27th 2017

Amazing trail. Never been on anything like it. The trail is straightforward and clear the whole way to Hamilton Lakes. Tree cover is on and off. There is no snow up to Hamilton lakes. You can try go further but there is a lot of snow starting 0.5 mile before precipice lakes. Probably having an ice axe is a good idea. The Kaweah Gap will take a good 5 hours from Hamilton lakes.

A couple of things are very important to do on this trail.

1. Shoes to cross the creeks. The creek crossings are pretty dangerous and super cold - there are 5 main crossings on this trail. First one is Mehrten creek. Probably the hardest of them all. There are two options to cross this creek a) go straight across (very exposed) b) go upstream 50 feet and cross a log. I choose the log because I thought it was safer. Second one is 8 mile creek (there are logs to cross). Third is 9 mile creek - use the log available and perhaps a stick / hiking poles. Fourth is bucks creek - bridge. Fifth is hamilton falls - there is a massive log upstream, get on it and walk to the end and then jump onto the trail. Also, if you leave early the creeks are significantly calmer. I brought trail runners and just took off my socks and soles before going into the water. They dried in less than an hour.

2. Don't bring too much water. I brought 1L and filled up along the way. There is so much water due to the big rain season. Plus it is ice cold!

3. Don't bring too much food. Most people I met along the way including myself packed in heaps of food. In reality, dense food like oats and nuts goes a long way.

4. Enjoy the trail! The wildflowers, butterflies and spectacular views :)

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